Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/76

This page has been validated.
50
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

cage in which he was enclosed. The smoke-jacks, which are still found in the kitchens of some old country-houses, were next introduced; these were turned by means of the smoke from the fire. The brass bottle-jack, still in use, is a mechanical contrivance, which, when wound up, revolves, carrying with it the joint of meat or whatever may be attached. The open range is said to have only one strong point in its favour, namely, that it will roast in front of the fire; but this one point is sufficient to recommend it for all time to those who use it. Nothing will ever induce the North-country people to discard their open ranges; although many supplement them with a gas stove, to make easier the cook's work as regards frying and sauce-making. As for the open ranges in the cottages, it is questionable whether they burn more coal than a close stove of the same capacity, for the careful housewife has various contrivances for reducing the consumption of fuel when the fire is not needed for roasting or baking purposes. Moreover, an oven heated from below is better adapted to the requirements of people who always have home-made bread and cakes; and who prefer baked hot-pots and meat stewed in an earthenware pot in the oven, to the more liquid and less savoury stews made in a saucepan. Apart from the question of economy, the well-constructed close ranges found in good kitchens have many strong points to recommend them; but their various adjustments to facilitate the disposal and regulation of heat, and the movable fire-box by which the consumption of fuel is controlled, are characteristic of this particular class of stoves, and are not found in the small close stoves supplied to artisan dwellings. And when the production of heat and the consumption of fuel cannot be controlled, a close stove may prove quite as wasteful as an open grate, and less satisfactory in other respects.

Close Fire Ranges.—There is little doubt that "close fire" ranges were at first mostly used in Devonshire for the convenience of the hotplate over the top for scalding milk to obtain clotted cream, open ranges being then used in London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Gradually the use of the open range was abandoned for the Leamington range, which at one time may be said to have had it all its own way; but now there are a variety of ranges, each claiming some special merit, and rendering it a matter of considerable difficulty to pick and choose between them. It may be said, however, that economy of fuel and cleanliness are the chief features of close ranges of all kinds, combined with efficiency of action, provided that the flues themselves, through which the smoke and soot pass off into the chimney, leaving considerable deposits in the passage, are kept perfectly clean.

Advantages claimed for Close Fire Ranges.

  1. Many saucepans and vessels may be kept boiling at one time, and at the proper point of temperature.